Local Policymakers, Galway City Council Recreation & Amenity Department, Individuals
Biodiversity is the variety of different types of life. The more biodiverse a place is, the richer it is in life and the greater the variety of species within it. The decisions that are made by Council staff and by property owners about landscaping and gardening can have a profound effect on biodiversity in the city. Private gardens form a significant proportion of urban green space, playing a valuable role in forming wildlife corridors between larger areas of habitat, such as parks, commons and open spaces.
We can bring more biodiversity to city spaces in various ways including:
– Planting native trees, flowers and other plants throughout the city. Native plants support more biodiversity. For example, native oak trees are important habitats for hundreds of invertebrate species and many birds and mammals.
– Not collecting tree litter (leaves, branches, bark, etc.) and allowing it to rot on the ground. Tree litter provides habitat for many organisms.
– Removing invasive species. Invasive non-native plant and animal species are the second greatest threat to biodiversity worldwide after habitat destruction.
– Protecting habitats from destruction or fragmentation.
– Avoiding the use of dangerous herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.
– Setting aside an area in private gardens and in public parks to increase the wildlife value. Allowing “weeds” (nettles, brambles, etc.) to grow provides food and shelter for birds and insects.
– Letting a part of a lawn to grow wild or sowing wildflower meadows. This can encourage bees and butterflies into the garden.
– Building ponds to provide habitats for amphibians (frogs, etc.) and invertebrate such as dragonflies.
– Installing bird and bat boxes to trees or buildings.
– Building bug hotels. Also called an insect hotel, a bug hotel is a manmade structure created from various natural materials and consists of several different sections that provide insects with nesting facilities – particularly during winter, offering shelter or refuge for many types of insects such as bees, wasps, and butterflies.
– Feeding birds. It is especially important to feed birds over the cold winter months.
Wild About Gardens, UK
The National Biodiversity Data Centre, Carriganore WIT West Campus, Waterford
Invasive Species Ireland